The National Merit Scholarship program has named 14 Darien High School students as finalists in the competition.

In order to be named as finalists in the competition, each student had to take the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in 2009. The top scorers are then chosen from each state as semi-finalists before going on to compete for a spot as a finalist.

To chosen as a finalist, students must have an outstanding academic record through high school, be endorsed and recommended by the principal and score well on the SAT.

John Conley, Katherine Critelli, Madeleine Gill, Nicole Granath, Taylor Holcomb, William Juan, Michael Kushnir, Charles Lacy, Darius Majd, Anna Morant, Charlotte Schaffer, Sarah Smith, Danielle Tilford, and Catherine Treesh were named National Merit Scholarship Program finalists.

Darien High School Principal Dan Haron praised the number of students who were named as finalists in the competition.

"This is such an anomaly because usually we have three or four students who are named as finalists," Haron said. "This is just a very strong senior class academically."

Although the number of finalists is unusually high, Haron said the senior class has a large number of students who are receiving excellent grades in advanced classes.

"This is the class that I came in with as the new principal and it's going to be tough to see them leave," Haron said.

The winners of the scholarships will be announced this month.